Well-being effects of self-employment: A spatial inquiry

Maria Abreu*, Ozge Oner, Aleid Brouwer, Eveline van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Our paper presents an empirical analysis of entrepreneurial well-being using a large-scale longitudinal household survey from the UK that tracks almost 50,000 individuals across seven waves over the period 2009–2017, as well as a number of exploratory case studies. We contribute to the existing literature by investigating how entrepreneurial well-being varies across locations along the urban-rural continuum, and across wealthy-deprived neighbourhoods. We use a Coarsened Exact Matching (CEM) approach to compare the well-being outcomes of individuals who switch into self-employment from waged employment, and show that entrepreneurial well-being, in the form of job satisfaction, is significantly higher for those living in semi-urban locations, relative to those living in urban and rural locations. We argue that semi-urban locations provide an optimal combination of ease of doing business and quality of life. Our results also show that individuals in wealthy neighbourhoods who switch into self-employment experience higher job satisfaction than otherwise comparable individuals living in materially deprived neighbourhoods, although the latter experience greater levels of life satisfaction following the switch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-607
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number4
Early online date20 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Neighbourhood effects
  • Self-employment
  • Urban-rural
  • Well-being


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